Not us. Not yet. But two Toronto bookstores are calling it quits and there are three half-price sales on. Ninja reader and uber-bookseller Janet Inksetter from Annex Books writes in with this (the sad news is at the end):
Another victim of the rising rents on Queen Street West, and after 30 years on the street, Abelard Books will be moving shortly. Starting today, Paul Lockwood is having a half-price sale at his premises at 519 Queen Street West. Extended hours – 11-6 seven days a week. Also starting today and lasting for one week, Contact Editions at 491 Davenport Road (near Spadina) are having a sale. Half-price on everything with a regular price of $125.00 and under. Starting next Saturday, Annex Books at 1083 Bathurst Street will be having a half-price sale. Janet Inksetter will be moving to a by appointment and on-line business.
It's mind-boggling to think of Toronto without a brick and mortar Annex Books. Way way way back when I first started writing, a friend of mine and I formed a "guerrilla" poetry group called "Perhaps, a Self-Centred Geisha". We never ambushed people with performed poems, but we did do all kinds of little print exercises, like mailing poems to people from the phone book (with no explanation), distributing flyers to cafes and such, taking famous poems and hacking off the last two lines and then mailing them to celebrities with a request to complete the poem (guess who wrote back), etc. But the one that was the most successful was the weekend we printed 12,000 colourful little poetry "booklets" with tiny, haiku-like snippets on them. They were each a strip of folded construction paper about three inches wide and 3/4 inch high, with a title on the front and a little poem on the inside. We wandered around Toronto over the course of the weekend surreptitiously slipping them into the covers of all kinds of books, under windshield wipers, in the change slots of parking meters. I expect most of them became litter, and for that unforeseen eventuality, I now apologize (my 25 year old self couldn't conceive of people not wanting to possess these things for ever and ever). Anyway, the point behind all of this was the only bookseller I felt confident asking for permission was Janet. She very kindly said, "Sure!" Of course, much later she told me she regretted it when she found herself literally sweeping them up from the floor of the store. But still, the thought was there. Then another time I sent a found poem to "dig." zine. I had seen it on the shelf at Annex Books, so I titled the poem "On the Shelf at Annex Books" and Jen printed it on the inside title page of one of her awesome little issues. The entire text of the poem was taken from a strip of tape denoting the a change in genre on that shelf. It read:
Canadian Literature Ends/
Thanks, Janet for the years and years of the best used bookstore in Toronto.